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New look newsroom as part of redesign

How often do you get a new newsroom? In fact, how often do you get a new newsroom in the process of a redesign of the paper?

Many newspapers tend to think a redesign is just that – a new look paper. But the few that are more forward looking look beyond the design.

City Press, a Sunday paper in South Africa, is being redesigned by me and is set to be relaunched on May 2.

The new newsroom was completed just a week ago, and together with it, a restructured editorial floor. Journalists have moved back from their temporary office, to oohs and aahs from other colleagues in the building in Johannesburg.

It’s colour-coded to identify the various sections.

I had recommended a structural change and Editor-in-Chief Ferial Haffajee was super keen to implement it from the word go! I’ve never worked with such enthusiasm bubbling from everyone in the newsroom!

Here is a picture of workers ripping out all the old carpets, knocking down walls, putting in new colour-coded furniture, paint and the lot!

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All the offices where section editors used to sit, have been knocked down to create an open newsroom.

There are two main hubs. One is where all  the content producers will sit. This is what I call the Producers’ Hub and the other is the back end of the operation called the Production Hub.

The idea is to get all the producers talking to each other so there is little duplication, more coordination between the various sections, and ultimately a better newspaper.

With the Production Hub just at arm’s length away, there will be far better communication between the front office and the back room.

Here’s a photo of the new newsroom, with an area for brainstorming and chilling out if you need to.

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An advertising campaign has already started, teasing readers with posters such as the one below. It has a huge question mark with a little map of Africa at the bottom. This is a teaser to the forthcoming masthead which has undergone a tremendous change.

The campaign is also on TV, radio and of course, in print.

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Here’s how City Press looks today. Watch out for May 2 when the new look hits the streets.

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Here’s a partial picture of what the new masthead  will look like come May 2.

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A world of difference, surely!